Rocky Hill, Conn. - Ames Department Stores, one of the remaining discount department stores in the Northeast, said last week that it will close all 327 stores and go out of business, laying off 21,500 employees.
Ames, which had about $2.7 billion in annual sales, operates stores in 14 Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states and the District of Columbia. In this year's TWICE Consumer Electronics Retail Registry, which ranked annualized sales of the top 100 CE retailers for calendar year 2001, Ames was ranked number 49 with $214 million, down from $308 million during 2000.
According to its U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing in New York Ames has about $670 million in debts, including $230 million to trade creditors. The company was said to be a victim of tough competition from national discounters Wal-Mart and Target. At press time the chain said liquidation sales were set to begin yesterday and will last for about ten weeks.
Ames is the fourth such Northeast-based discounter to go out of business, the other three being Ann & Hope, Bradlees and Caldor.